2nd Edition rules - Totally Freeform or Machine Code?


Rules Discussion

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Have you heard the good word of Rolemaster? with digital tools it is now just as crunchy as ever but now actually runnable without slowing you down too much.

Seems to be more in line with what some folks would ideally enjoy.

Personally I find the object destruction rules are enough, there is a base AC and hardness to give a rough idea of where things will be. Having exact numbers isn't important.

But then again I fall on the side of "knowledge skills are useful" vs the "I cannot say I get exactly this out of it, knowledge skills are useless" argument.


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The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
Rolemaster

Rolemaster is a different play experience than pathfinder: I expect different things from them. I've enjoyed Rolemaster games but when I'm in the mood to play pathfinder, it's not really an alternative. Again, wanting basic/defaults covered isn't the same as wanting complicated charts.

The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
there is a base AC and hardness to give a rough idea of where things will be.

Where? I don't recall a default for object ac and saves. There is the material section that has hardness and hp but that in no way explains how attack [and therefor damage] an object: THIS is all the guidance we get on the subject - "Normally an item takes damage only when a creature is directly attacking it—commonly targeted items include doors and traps." Traps have defense stats but no one knows the defenses of that door.

PS: Also, you can't Strike a door as the action targets one creature so what action is it to cut a rope or chop down a door with an axe?

The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
I fall on the side of "knowledge skills are useful" vs the "I cannot say I get exactly this out of it, knowledge skills are useless" argument.

Recall Knowledge is as useful as the DM wants it to be: he has 100% control over what he thinks is useful [if anything] when you roll. So based on your Dm, it's "usefulness" can vary wildly if you're not in a setting where the checks are spelled out [like an AP]. Add to that the false information aspect and it's easy to see why some have gotten a dim view of it.


graystone wrote:
PS: Also, you can't Strike a door as the action targets one creature so what action is it to cut a rope or chop down a door with an axe?

Hitting a stationary, inanimate object with a sharp thing (e.g. chopping wood, slicing an onion, cutting a rope) would be an interact action IMO.

If it's like "chop down the door with an axe" the only thing I would roll for is "how long this takes."


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
If it's like "chop down the door with an axe" the only thing I would roll for is "how long this takes."

Yep, there is the rub: we live in a 4 tier system for damage and we're talking abut a physical attack. How do you roll damage? Can you critical fail or succeed? How does hardness factor into a interact action "attack". What if I instead use a spell to blast it and need it's save...

See the thing is, you have to know how damaging the attack is before figuring out time even for an interact action: surely a butter knife takes longer to cut through a door than a great axe but how to figure that out. What about a major striking dagger vs that great axe? An Adamantine Weapon vs a normal one? Without a framework to compare how damaging a weapon/tool is vs the object's hardness and hp, it's total guesswork and the existing framework to do so in an attack.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

For objects the character could break through in 3a or less I have them roll damage. If it would take longer i only have them roll once every 30s an extrapolate from there.

E.g against a hardness 5 object the pc rolls a 8 on damage. That 30s they deal 45 damage to it.


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Malk_Content wrote:
For objects the character could break through in 3a or less I have them roll damage.

How do you figure this out? Max damage? average damage? Crits involved? [you need to know how much damage per action to figure out if they can do it in 3 actions].


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I think the attempt to overpower a door is probably more of a force open check than a strike.

I don't think the rules are very clear on how to arbitrate this consistently from table to table, but I think the default assumption of a fireball spell is supposed to be that it doesn't do damage to the environment or the items in a room because narratively, that gives it way too much power to really mess up the story of the GM ( well I guess the letter the villain was writing on the desk telling the PCs were to go next just got toasted). I think PF2 is divorced enough from the semblances of reality to have a default assumption that objects are only ever targeted intentionally, or if the GM wants to create an interesting timer for an encounter.

Personally, I am hoping the GM guide has more about how to handle this, and I am really hoping that it does so by turning those situations into skill/attribute checks rather than combat damage recording.

For example: That door has a DC 22, and requires 2 successful checks to completely break through. Using a Axe can get an x circumstance modifier to an athletics check to force it open. You want to cast a fireball at it? I'll let you make a spell check roll instead of an athletics check, but the door is reinforced with iron, and is resistant to energy damage so it takes a x circumstance penalty to the check. Maybe using a spell from a spell slot can get a bonus equal to spell level to keep them being better than cantrips. But I am sure whatever system gets put in practice will be better than this off-the-cusp example idea.

Regardless the key should be that it only comes into play when the party is doing so intentionally and not be wormed in as a side effect of the player trying to accomplish something else. Like trying to say, well I cast fireball to burst the door and try to target all the enemies in the room at the same time.


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I think that generally spells/bombs/etc are not meant to affect items (whether attended, carried, wielded, unattended, etc) unless specifically called out because its been an issue in some editions as a way some GMs would use it pretty punitively against casters ('whoops your fireball burned all the loot in the room', 'whoops your lightning bolt set the building on fire and now you're wanted criminals'. Sunder rules fell into a lot of the same problems.

Its a place where narrative power/'realism' and character option balance have always had a fair bit of tension. (Old AD&D2e or was it first edition with the 10x radius for fireball inside versus outside, saying 'this is not an inside spell')

All casters and alchemists, maybe some ki monk stuff too, all needs to be very carefully examined in a system where 'collateral damage is expected' in a way that ends up being un-fun/gotcha to first time or causal players.


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I'm surprised that I'm still seeing the fireball with unintended objects issue. If you're seriously worried that the fireball may damage the "letter on the desk" or the magic wand that you want to give to your players, then you really need to plan your games better because this won't be your only issue as a GM. I promise. When your players start wandering off to other areas and deviate from the plot, your head will really start spinning.

Was this even a problem in PF1? Did anyone run into this "my plot device might burn" issue? Or rather, the more sensible solution, relocating the item/plot device, instead of entering video game land where your AoEs affect nothing but your enemies and leaving the room perfectly fine as if nothing happened.


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Sauce987654321 wrote:
instead of entering video game land where your AoEs affect nothing but your enemies and leaving the room perfectly fine as if nothing happened.

Full grown humanoids weigh 30-60 pounds based on their bulk and you can live without any food or water is you take the right non-magic feat and another feat lets me fall from space, land on my feet and walk away without damage... We've been in "video game land" from the start without a ruling in this.


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There's always going to be new people learning to write stories who plan progress as a series of specific check points. That will never stop being a problem.

Still, making the environment immune to incidental damage makes the game feel pretty weak.

Cyouni wrote:
thorin001 wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
I'm not sure I want to go back to having specific DCs for "walking up a 30 degree angle, on a 6" wide beam, in a snowstorm, uphill both ways" and having that be a very different check if the beam were 7" wide instead.
You prefer roll d20, if you get above a 15 you make it; I don't care what your modifier is?

Even though that's a complete and utter misrepresentation of PF2's rules, I'd still prefer that to, for example, the ridiculous number of modifiers of PF1's Perception system that aren't really usable. For example, the +20 to the Perception DC for being invisible, even if it's a purely auditory check - the DC for an invisible bow being drawn on the other side of a door 40 feet away is 49, and one of those modifiers makes absolutely no sense.

And if you choose to ignore that, then funnily enough, you're in "ask the GM" territory.

The +20 perception modifier for invisibility is for pinpointing the location of an invisible creature with a perception check. As are all the other modifiers on the invisibility chart. So we have 25 for bow drawn, 5 for other side of a door, +4 for 40 feet. Invisibility says it doesn't silence things so no change there. We don't even look at the archer's character sheet. DC 34

Pf2 tells us a drawn bow behind a door is undetectable. Forty feet is way out of seek range. A door blocks line of effect for bursts and cones. We're completely screwed. but wait, that's only if precision is required and we're using an imprecise sense! Which... looks like you use the seek action which is blocked by the door.

I don't think either of these options are very good.


graystone wrote:
Sauce987654321 wrote:
instead of entering video game land where your AoEs affect nothing but your enemies and leaving the room perfectly fine as if nothing happened.
Full grown humanoids weigh 30-60 pounds based on their bulk and you can live without any food or water is you take the right non-magic feat and another feat lets me fall from space, land on my feet and walk away without damage... We've been in "video game land" from the start without a ruling in this.

Ignoring the charts that provide the average height/weight based off of your race, would you actually tell your players at any point that they weight 30-60 pounds because you think the game says so?

Features/abilities that the game provides is not what I meant when I made the video game comparison. It's the limitations of the game is what I was making that comparison about. Admittedly, even a lot video games don't function like this. That's the part I'll admit I was wrong about, if anything.


Sauce987654321 wrote:
Ignoring the charts that provide the average height/weight based off of your race, would you actually tell your players at any point that they weight 30-60 pounds because you think the game says so?

It's under bulk of creatures and the conversion of bulk to pounds. So I'd tell them that because that's what the game tells me is true. They can figure it out just by lifting someone so why should I lie to them?

PS: there are PF2 charts for height and weight? I haven't seen any.

Sauce987654321 wrote:
Features/abilities that the game provides is not what I meant when I made the video game comparison.

You seemed to be talking about the level of simulated reality and IMO it all seems related to me: when mundane things break our reality, it's hard to look at magic effects, that break reality by definition, and say it's odd they don't act like our reality.


graystone wrote:
Sauce987654321 wrote:
Ignoring the charts that provide the average height/weight based off of your race, would you actually tell your players at any point that they weight 30-60 pounds because you think the game says so?

It's under bulk of creatures and the conversion of bulk to pounds. So I'd tell them that because that's what the game tells me is true. They can figure it out just by lifting someone so why should I lie to them?

PS: there are PF2 charts for height and weight? I haven't seen any.

Sauce987654321 wrote:
Features/abilities that the game provides is not what I meant when I made the video game comparison.
You seemed to be talking about the level of simulated reality and IMO it all seems related to me: when mundane things break our reality, it's hard to look at magic effects, that break reality by definition, and say it's odd they don't act like our reality.

I believe it's page 33 of the CRB.

I asked because, personally, I would find it jarring if for some reason, going from PF1 to PF2, that suddenly our characters are running around with the body mass of toddlers. I don't find that it's necessary to include that sort of oversight in any game.

I don't expect a real world simulation, with this game, but I expect it to be function as one in a very basic, fundamental way. If I watch the Avengers, something that's also very unrealistic, I don't expect Thor's lighting or Iron Man's missiles to arbitrarily ignore the environment, either.


Seems like a massive waste of spectacle, also. Why make the game so sterile for no reason?


Sauce987654321 wrote:
I believe it's page 33 of the CRB.

Not in the PF2 CRB at least.

Sauce987654321 wrote:
I asked because, personally, I would find it jarring if for some reason, going from PF1 to PF2, that suddenly our characters are running around with the body mass of toddlers. I don't find that it's necessary to include that sort of oversight in any game.

I think it was put there intentionally so people could actually move a knocked out person around if need be with the new bulk figures. Even an 18 str can only carry45-90 pounds before slowing down and have a max of 75-140 pounds before they can't move. You have a 180 pound barbarian in armor and you're down to VERY slowly dragging them.

Sauce987654321 wrote:
I don't expect a real world simulation, with this game, but I expect it to be function as one in a very basic, fundamental way. If I watch the Avengers, something that's also very unrealistic, I don't expect Thor's lighting or Iron Man's missiles to arbitrarily ignore the environment, either.

You're looking at the wrong hero: we're talking Doctor Strange. Would you be surprised if he could blast some bad guys and not harm the room? I wouldn't as he's the sorcerer supreme! Magic is... magical. ;)


Henro wrote:
Seems like a massive waste of spectacle, also. Why make the game so sterile for no reason?

If the difference between an awesome game and a lame one is the background stuff catching on fire, there's a LOT more wrong with the game.


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Henro wrote:
Seems like a massive waste of spectacle, also. Why make the game so sterile for no reason?

Because the spectacle of determining what stuff in the room is damaged, and how much is a massive head ache, and not something that adventure writers are going to be able to adequately handle. Or we are making alchemists and AoE casters default to being terrible characters because they destroy everything around them all the time by using their abilities.

I get why that seems "weak" to the ability to tell some home brew stories, and I think it would have no place in a gritty system, but I don't want the default assumption of the game to be that a room is functionally destroyed when someone casts a fireball in it, when the ability to do Area of Effect damage is also built into being a default assumption of the game.


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At the same time, having nothing get damaged be the default, still allows the GM to let the players specifically do things to destroy objects/ the room, AND allow for encounters that are built around a slowly deteriorating environment to be the exceptions to the default, without demanding that they try to keep track of how much HP the desk has, and the rug, and all the equipment on the big boss.


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Unicore wrote:
Because the spectacle of determining what stuff in the room is damaged, and how much is a massive head ache, and not something that adventure writers are going to be able to adequately handle. Or we are making alchemists and AoE casters default to being terrible characters because they destroy everything around them all the time by using their abilities.

That was sort of my point, actually (though the brevity I presented it with may not have helped make that clear). I don't want detailed rules for collateral damage, DMs can describe a fireball throwing furniture around easily without it.

Graystone wrote:
If the difference between an awesome game and a lame one is the background stuff catching on fire, there's a LOT more wrong with the game.

If a GM isn't willing to light a background object on fire because of RAW, that is probably the source of a lot more problems.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
graystone wrote:
I think it was put there intentionally so people could actually move a knocked out person around if need be with the new bulk figures. Even an 18 str can only carry45-90 pounds before slowing down and have a max of 75-140 pounds before they can't move. You have a 180 pound barbarian in armor and you're down to VERY slowly dragging them.

I think this is correct in terms of the game design explanation, but also I think you are ignoring the much more logical answer that Bulk doesn't correspond exactly to weight and bodies are relatively easy to carry.

In fact, trying to say that 1 Bulk is exactly 5-10 pounds is explicitly incorrect, given that the same part of the book that says "As a general rule, an item that weighs 5 to 10 pounds is 1 Bulk" also says that a 10-foot-pole, despite weighing less than 5 pounds, is 1 Bulk.

So no, according to the rules characters do not weigh "30-60 pounds"; they weigh 6 Bulk, which correlates directly to their difficulty to carry but not to their weight.


Henro wrote:
If a GM isn't willing to light a background object on fire because of RAW, that is probably the source of a lot more problems.

I don't think I commented on a Dm allowing things to catch on fire but that it wasn't the default. If the players and DM want it all to burn, more power to them. People will assume rules are there for a reason and are balancing pints for other things in the game so I don't see it as a bad DM if they think that a rule being in the game expects them to use it.

Henro wrote:
I don't want detailed rules for collateral damage, DMs can describe a fireball throwing furniture around easily without it.
There doesn't need to be anything complicated or overly detailed. Simple default saves and AC's alone go a long way as would a simple sentence that by default unattended items are or aren't affected by area attacks.
MaxAstro wrote:
I think this is correct in terms of the game design explanation, but also I think you are ignoring the much more logical answer that Bulk doesn't correspond exactly to weight and bodies are relatively easy to carry.

I didn't ignore it at all: they call it 'dead weight' for a reason: it's easier to carry a willing creature than a limp one and I can't see ANY way that a person becomes easier to carry that way. Additionally it's described as "The Bulk value of an item reflects how difficult the item is to handle, representing its size, weight, and general awkwardness." ALL three added together so your weight doesn't go down with it.

MaxAstro wrote:
In fact, trying to say that 1 Bulk is exactly 5-10 pounds is explicitly incorrect, given that the same part of the book that says "As a general rule, an item that weighs 5 to 10 pounds is 1 Bulk" also says that a 10-foot-pole, despite weighing less than 5 pounds, is 1 Bulk.

Yeah, so it's on average... I not seeing that as any different. Lets look at it another way: a human is as hard to carry as 3 longspears between height and 'unwieldiness'. No matter how you parse that, that makes them much, much lighter than normal human weights.

MaxAstro wrote:
So no, according to the rules characters do not weigh "30-60 pounds"; they weigh 6 Bulk, which correlates directly to their difficulty to carry but not to their weight.

So they are as difficult that an easy to carry 60 pound item... So, yeah, I think my numbers are accurate enough. You're asking me to ignore that people as SO easy to carry that the average is 200%+ off [just for people]? Are people filled with helium? They all have carrying handles attached at birth? The numbers aren't off by a little but a ridiculously huge amount.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Well - are you also arguing that full plate weighs 20-40lbs? 'Cause I think at that point it might make more sense to just say that a "pound" is different on Golarion...


MaxAstro wrote:
Well - are you also arguing that full plate weighs 20-40lbs?

When you carry someone are you wearing them like a flesh-suit? Worn items alone allow for reduced bulk in the rules.

But to the armor... Lets see 4 bulk plus 1 for not wearing it is 5 bulk, so 25 to 50 pounds. A suit of real complete plate comes out to 33-55 pounds so it's pretty spot on. ;)

PS: now if it was like creatures, it'd 1 bulk armor [2 unworn] for a weight of 10-20 pounds, bout 1/3 the weight it should be.

Shadow Lodge

Okay, while gross, that does make sense if you're thinking of specific rules for intellect devourers.


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graystone wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:


So no, according to the rules characters do not weigh "30-60 pounds"; they weigh 6 Bulk, which correlates directly to their difficulty to carry but not to their weight.
So they are as difficult that an easy to carry 60 pound item... So, yeah, I think my numbers are accurate enough. You're asking me to ignore that people as SO easy to carry that the average is 200%+ off [just for people]? Are people filled with helium? They all have carrying handles attached at birth? The numbers aren't off by a little but a ridiculously huge amount.

PCs are easy to carry because of the "he/she/they ain't heavy, he's/she's/they're my brother/sister/other" principle.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
graystone wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:


So no, according to the rules characters do not weigh "30-60 pounds"; they weigh 6 Bulk, which correlates directly to their difficulty to carry but not to their weight.
So they are as difficult that an easy to carry 60 pound item... So, yeah, I think my numbers are accurate enough. You're asking me to ignore that people as SO easy to carry that the average is 200%+ off [just for people]? Are people filled with helium? They all have carrying handles attached at birth? The numbers aren't off by a little but a ridiculously huge amount.
PCs are easy to carry because of the "he/she/they ain't heavy, he's/she's/they're my brother/sister/other" principle.

When I see a 3' tall goblin 'princess carry' a 6'6" 1/2 orc barbarian and calmly walk away, we've passed any semblance of reality as we know it in relation to how easy things are to carry, weight and unwieldiness. IMO, this relates almost perfectly with area attacks not damaging background items: it doesn't make any sense in real life physics, but it makes sense for a game 'quality of life' reasons.


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graystone wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
graystone wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:


So no, according to the rules characters do not weigh "30-60 pounds"; they weigh 6 Bulk, which correlates directly to their difficulty to carry but not to their weight.
So they are as difficult that an easy to carry 60 pound item... So, yeah, I think my numbers are accurate enough. You're asking me to ignore that people as SO easy to carry that the average is 200%+ off [just for people]? Are people filled with helium? They all have carrying handles attached at birth? The numbers aren't off by a little but a ridiculously huge amount.
PCs are easy to carry because of the "he/she/they ain't heavy, he's/she's/they're my brother/sister/other" principle.
When I see a 3' tall goblin 'princess carry' a 6'6" 1/2 orc barbarian and calmly walk away, we've passed any semblance of reality as we know it in relation to how easy things are to carry, weight and unwieldiness. IMO, this relates almost perfectly with area attacks not damaging background items: it doesn't make any sense in real life physics, but it makes sense for a game 'quality of life' reasons.

I think the other thing that doesn't make sense in "real life physics" is the humanoids with swords being threats to rune giants, 40 feet tall monsters that weigh 25k pounds.

So I think I can forgive quite a bit more that also doesn't conform directly to the same.


Cyouni wrote:

I think the other thing that doesn't make sense in "real life physics" is the humanoids with swords being threats to rune giants, 40 feet tall monsters that weigh 25k pounds.

So I think I can forgive quite a bit more that also doesn't conform directly to the same.

I agree, which is why I scratch my head when people make it sound that lack of collateral damage is what throws the realism out the window.

Another thing to wrap your head around, that rune giants greatsword and a small creatures greatsword do the same base damage... So 40' tall greatswords do 1d12 damage used in 2 hands.


"Fireball shouldn't damage furniture because bulk rules are abstracted" is just about peak non sequitur.


Peak non sequitur to me was 4th ed taking away hardness and letting the dm decide every time if something was breakable or not. So wait why wouldn't fireball destroy a table it does xd6 against the tables hp right or did they remove the inanimate object hp rules from pf2 without me noticing?


swoosh wrote:
"Fireball shouldn't damage furniture because bulk rules are abstracted" is just about peak non sequitur.

When "Fireball shouldn't damage furniture because" and "human size creatures should weigh 1/3rd real life numbers because" have the same answer, it doesn't seem like a non sequitur to me. Both seem to be quality of life rules instead of trying to emulate reality rules.

PS: "abstracted" and wildly inaccurate aren't the same things to me at least.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
So wait why wouldn't fireball destroy a table it does xd6 against the tables hp right or did they remove the inanimate object hp rules from pf2 without me noticing?

Objects still have hardness and HP. They have changed the targeting rules to say that objects can usually only be damaged when targeted directly. You can’t directly target anything with a fireball as it doesn’t have targets. Area of effect damage deliberately calls out only creatures.

I like the way this is written because it gives a clear base: objects don’t take area of effect damage, but the usually lets the GM know they have wiggle room here if they want to let it work differently.


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Unicore wrote:
Or we are making alchemists and AoE casters default to being terrible characters because they destroy everything around them all the time by using their abilities.

It's rare that unattended non-magical non-metal items are of much value to anyone who can cast a level 3 spell.

Just as you probably wouldn't throw a fireball in a room full of child hostages, you probably shouldn't use alchemist fire in a library if you care about the books. If exploding things is your only possible combat tactic, then you are a pretty terrible character already.


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The rules and the in-world physics are connected, but they're not the same.

Using bulk rules to assign actual weights seem silly to me, the rules aren't trying to simulate the weight of people and objects.


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Where would I read that magic items are more durable than non-magical counterparts? glass has 1 hardness and 8 hp. I guess all unattended potions and elixirs should be destroyed in the radius of a fireball? Even a wood chest has 5 hardness and 20 hp so is likely destroyed in a fireball.
Plus the bigger issue, why bother trying to keep track of what does and doesn't get destroyed?


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Unicore wrote:

Where would I read that magic items are more durable than non-magical counterparts? glass has 1 hardness and 8 hp. I guess all unattended potions and elixirs should be destroyed in the radius of a fireball? Even a wood chest has 5 hardness and 20 hp so is likely destroyed in a fireball.

Plus the bigger issue, why bother trying to keep track of what does and doesn't get destroyed?

Can we please move the area attack/unattended object destruction discussion to this thread please?

I want to keep the focus here on the more general topic and not get buried too deep in the minutiae of one particular area of the rules.

Liberty's Edge

graystone wrote:
Full grown humanoids weigh 30-60 pounds based on their bulk

This is actually no longer true (though something similar was an issue in the playtest). For the final game the wording of Bulk was changed. It now specifies only that a 1 Bulk object is between 5 and 10 lbs. It does not say that Bulk scales linearly from there.

Now, unfortunately, it has no guidance at all about how Bulk scales up above 1 Bulk (aside from listing the Bulk of creatures of various sizes), but there is absolutely no indication of linear scaling and several against it (each size category seems to double the Bulk which indicates it scaling more logarithmically, though more details would be good).


Deadmanwalking wrote:
graystone wrote:
Full grown humanoids weigh 30-60 pounds based on their bulk

This is actually no longer true (though something similar was an issue in the playtest). For the final game the wording of Bulk was changed. It now specifies only that a 1 Bulk object is between 5 and 10 lbs. It does not say that Bulk scales linearly from there.

Now, unfortunately, it has no guidance at all about how Bulk scales up above 1 Bulk (aside from listing the Bulk of creatures of various sizes), but there is absolutely no indication of linear scaling and several against it (each size category seems to double the Bulk which indicates it scaling more logarithmically, though more details would be good).

1000 gp is 1 bulk, 2000gp is 2 bulk, ect. If 1 bulk is 5-10 pounds, it's hard to say that 2000gp isn't 10-20 pounds. From this, it sure seems like it's a linear progression to me.

Liberty's Edge

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graystone wrote:
1000 gp is 1 bulk, 2000gp is 2 bulk, ect. If 1 bulk is 5-10 pounds, it's hard to say that 2000gp isn't 10-20 pounds. From this, it sure seems like it's a linear progression to me.

This isn't necessarily true.

Multiple Bulk 1 items also stack linearly (6 Bulk 1 items are Bulk 6 to carry), but that doesn't mean the Bulk calculation for individual items is linear based on their scale, all it means is that, despite weighing something like 12 to 18 lbs. six swords are bulky and awkward enough to be as difficult to carry as an unconscious guy. 6000 individual coins also being equally bulky likewise makes a fair degree of sense, IMO.

It's not perfect, but there are strong indications the weight scale isn't linear for individual objects, and no indications that it is.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
It's not perfect, but there are strong indications the weight scale isn't linear for individual objects, and no indications that it is.

I see NO indications of nonlinear: the "each size category seems to double the Bulk" is what also happened in PF1 with weight: so bulk x2 equates to weight x2. Seems linear. What else seems nonlinear to you?

Liberty's Edge

graystone wrote:
I see NO indications of nonlinear: the "each size category seems to double the Bulk" is what also happened in PF1 with weight: so bulk x2 equates to weight x2. Seems linear. What else seems nonlinear to you?

Uh...size categories do not double weight. Not by the laws of physics, and certainly not in PF1. Given that they equate to roughly a doubling in height, they multiply it a lot more than that.

A good rule of thumb is that, using imperial measurements, a humanoid can be estimated at roughly their height cubed in weight (so, a 6' tall person would be 216 lbs. by that measure...a reasonable weight). So, that would indicate a 10' tall (and thus Large) creature at around 1000 lbs. and something like five times the weight of a Medium one...but only Bulk 12 to the Medium creature's Bulk 6.

I'm not sure how that can ever be seen to equate to using Bulk as a linear measure...


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Uh...size categories do not double weight.

Weight: This column gives the weight of the armor sized for a Medium wearer. Armor fitted for Small characters weighs half as much, and armor for Large characters weighs twice as much. PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 149.

Again, it mirrors how PF1 dealt with size changes for armor, doubling the weight [now bulk] per size change: I'm not saying it makes sense realistically but that how they did it, in a linear way.

PS: "Not by the laws of physics" IS my complaint with the numbers, not proof that it's not linear. Is there anything, in game, that suggests non-linear other that 'it wouldn't make sense by physics'?

Liberty's Edge

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graystone wrote:

Weight: This column gives the weight of the armor sized for a Medium wearer. Armor fitted for Small characters weighs half as much, and armor for Large characters weighs twice as much. PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 149.

Again, it mirrors how PF1 dealt with size changes for armor, doubling the weight [now bulk] per size change: I'm not saying it makes sense realistically but that how they did it, in a linear way.

I'm talking the weight of creatures, not armor.

For armor doubling in weight is actually not too far off, barding was often around that or less, and that's for a Large creature in real life (albeit with different proportions), and armor only scales in two dimensions rather than three. For creatures, it's a much greater indication that Bulk just doesn't work that way.

But items still double in Bulk when going up in size you might say, but I'd argue that's awkwardness more than weight. An Ogre sized sword or suit of armor is super bulky and awkward for smaller creatures even if it does have less of a weight increase than the creature wearing it.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
I'm talking the weight of creatures, not armor.

I understand that 100%, I just don't see how that matters: there isn't an official conversion for weight to size for creatures in PF1 and they SURE aren't 100% the same for a size type [or even close]. Hence, it seems like a wild goose chase to me. For instance a living sandstorm is 6' tall and weighs 900 pounds while a Sylph might be 5' and 100 pounds: 6 bulk doesn't adequately cover this range with any combination of "size, weight, and general awkwardness" for both no matter how you spin it. Since actual examples of creatures in the game don't work, I'm not sure what physics brings to the table. Elementals, outsiders and the like don't seem to work under the same physics but do work under the same bulk system for size.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
For armor doubling in weight is actually not too far off

It just plain doesn't matter: actual weights aren't an in game explanation for why the bulk isn't linear. IMO, it's a good reason to use actual weights instead but not one for why bulk to weight numbers are off.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
But items still double in Bulk when going up in size you might say, but I'd argue that's awkwardness more than weight.

I'd call it a non-factor: 20 arrows held in your hands are as bulky as 20 carefully packed in satchel: 5 loose staves the same as those carefully tied together. The only nod we've had to this is the backpack. 5 bags of 1000gp are as bulky as 1 bag of 5000gp. 'unwieldiness' isn't something you can count on having ANY effect on bulk: a halfling can princess carry a 1/2 orc and not be slowed down even when they are twice as tall and limp... Not seeing much added "awkwardness" factors.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
An Ogre sized sword or suit of armor is super bulky and awkward for smaller creatures even if it does have less of a weight increase than the creature wearing it.

That's why it's clumsy 1, not extra bulky: it doesn't weigh more for the smaller creature. For instance, a Giant Instinct barbarian doesn't add bulk to the sword for using it like the extra bulk for not wearing armor. it's bulk just IS.


It would make since if bulk increased exponentially instead of linearly.

Liberty's Edge

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graystone wrote:
I understand that 100%, I just don't see how that matters: there isn't an official conversion for weight to size for creatures in PF1 and they SURE aren't 100% the same for a size type [or even close]. Hence, it seems like a wild goose chase to me. For instance a living sandstorm is 6' tall and weighs 900 pounds while a Sylph might be 5' and 100 pounds: 6 bulk doesn't adequately cover this range with any combination of "size, weight, and general awkwardness" for both no matter how you spin it. Since actual examples of creatures in the game don't work, I'm not sure what physics brings to the table. Elementals, outsiders and the like don't seem to work under the same physics but do work under the same bulk system for size.

Bulk is an abstraction. You can easily argue that it's a bad abstraction for all these reasons, my contention is not that it's a good one (though I think it's less bad than you do), but that it's clearly not a [i]linear[i] abstraction.

graystone wrote:
It just plain doesn't matter: actual weights aren't an in game explanation for why the bulk isn't linear. IMO, it's a good reason to use actual weights instead but not one for why bulk to weight numbers are off.

Sure. But my point is purely that Bulk is pretty explicitly not linear.

graystone wrote:
I'd call it a non-factor: 20 arrows held in your hands are as bulky as 20 carefully packed in satchel: 5 loose staves the same as those carefully tied together. The only nod we've had to this is the backpack. 5 bags of 1000gp are as bulky as 1 bag of 5000gp. 'unwieldiness' isn't something you can count on having ANY effect on bulk: a halfling can princess carry a 1/2 orc and not be slowed down even when they are twice as tall and limp... Not seeing much added "awkwardness" factors.

Awkwardness factors are certainly inconsistently applied, but they are explicitly a factor to take into account, especially as a GM estimating Bulk. It's right there in the book, with the 10 foot pole as an example.

graystone wrote:
That's why it's clumsy 1, not extra bulky: it doesn't weigh more for the smaller creature. For instance, a Giant Instinct barbarian doesn't add bulk to the sword for using it like the extra bulk for not wearing armor. it's bulk just IS.

Doubling something's dimensions makes it a lot more awkward even for people it's the right size for, not to use necessarily, but to deal with in practice.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Try not to overthink it. It's the nature of abstract systems to not be a perfect fit for all situations.

The idea that three longspears and one human are roughly comparable in terms of carrying difficulty makes perfect sense to me. The spears because of their length and people because of their weight and drapey ragdoll'ness.

I can think of thousands of other situations where it not only makes sense, but is easy to work with on an intuitive level.

Like many people here I can also easily think of several examples where it can leave us scratching our heads in bewilderment.

But that doesnt much matter because there will always be a few cases (and if you actively look for them, a whole lot of cases) where it doesn't quite work. And that's fine; because it is an abstraction, the GM can simply say "that guideline doesn't make sense in this instance, so we're going to use X bulk in this context" and keep the game moving forward, the system having performed exactly as intended.

To be more precise can cause its own issues. Players can take advantage, using the rules legalese to actually have some teeth with which to fight the GM and potentially disrupt the flow of the game. It is also more complex and less intuitive to those who aren't great at math, so there are countless tables who ignore or ad hoc the precise systems of measurement anyways. It's not laziness, it's merely choosing to focus on what they see as fun.

The developers clearly intended it that way.

If you feel that, that is a dumbing down of the game for the lowest common denominator, or is otherwise not fun for you, then (and I say this without malice or ill judgement) there is always 1st Edition.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Did this turn into Graystone's Bulk Thread? Why yes, it did :)

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